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November 21st 2013
Published: November 21st 2013
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2nd – 21stNovember 2014

This was a short three week hop over to Spain, to check the house (it’s been nearly 18mths since we were last here!), catch up with old friends and do some walking. We got some friends to book us on the Field Club walks, as they would have been fully booked had we waited until we arrived.! Which begs the question - maybe there should be more walks, but there always appears to be a shortage of people to lead and organise them. We are always happy to lead walks but the walk programmes are done at least 6 months in advance, so difficult for us to say exactly when we will be here.......

The house was fine on arrival – just a bit musty! A few minor repairs needed on the outside where a tile had been broken (the cars park quite close so I am assuming it was a miscalculation by one of them!) and a quick paint job where the paint had peeled off. Needs a good paint inside as it hasn’t been painted since 2006 but that’s a job that will have to be done next time! The Spanish neighbours all welcomed us back and have been very friendly which is good! Our immediate next door neighbours daughter-in-law has had another baby on 25th October called ‘Kebin’ ( I think its a boy called Kevin!!)

The weather has been superb even though the Rains are due! Most days are very clear, hot and sunny (23c) and we have seen the North Coast of Africa very clearly each time we go to the coast. A couple of days it has clouded over later in the day and given us some unusual cloud formations and fantastic, mind blowing sunsets! A joy to behold! We had a small thundery shower on the Saturday in Mijas and it got quite cold for a while – ( UK air I think!! ) as well as a little bit of rain overnight just before we came home.

As the weather has been this good we have spent quite a few days just relaxing, catching a coffee at the wifi cafe and normal everyday living. Wandering around the town it seems that very little has changed at all, although there seems to be a few more English people around again.

The walking has been good and I managed a 13km walk on the track high above Casarabonela with relative ease, although the last 3km was a downhill track that made my calf and knee joints hurt for about 3 days afterwards! (I learnt afterwards that quite a few people’s joints and calves hurt, so that was reassuring!) Also did Tom and Tove’s walk – a 15km circular walk starting about 5km past Zalea, walking on a wide track up and around the Sierra de la Robla with fantastic views of the Guadalhorce valley and far down to the sea at Malaga. The short walks have been more social events, but we had a good walk up to Benalmadena pueblo and also a walk to a Botanical garden in Torremolinos that we didn’t know about, which is certainly worth another visit. Fountains, bridges, walkways, Japanese garden, several small aviaries, as well as a Museum showing the workings of the old flour mill. The Sierra de Mijas also has a new senderista board showing various walks on the mountain – next time!!

Had a day up at the lakes and El Chorro, as well as a day in Marbella, taking the catamaran to Puerto Banus and back (We usually walk the 6 km one way but opted out this time!) The sea was so calm and like a mirror, so we were hoping to see the flying fish again, but no luck!

We also went to a free Blues evening at the Biblioteque in Alhaurin and the theatre on the Saturday night to watch ‘Un Gitano y un Marques.’ Even getting the tickets for the theatre was a challenge as a) the Theatre is shut, b) Where they are advertising the show does not sell tickets! Decided to go to the Casa de la Cultura who informed us we had to buy tickets at a wool shop at the top of the town – opposite the green church! The play (that was a sell out!) was a comedy with some wonderful acting and characters - just a shame we couldn’t understand any of the punch we just laughed when the Spanish laughed! We sort of got the gist of what was going on so it wasn’t too bad at all – and it was good to see the inside of the theatre for the first time.

Had an interesting conversation at the Casa though, with a Spanish lawyer who informed us that the gypsy quarter and the houses opposite us are to be demolished, and a new green park area will be built. This will give us uninterrupted views across the Guadalhorce valley to the Sierras beyond, which will be absolutely wonderful. A new bus station will also be built at the top of the feria ground. She didn’t have a time scale for this, and only 42 families have been re-housed in the last 10 years, but she was hoping it would be in my lifetime!! She also wanted the telephone number of the owner of the ruin next door and said it would be sorted out! Theres hope yet then!!

On the last Tuesday we went on a coach trip to Rute with the British Legion! Arrived in Rute at about 11.30pm where we visited the chocolate factory to see the chocolate and marzipan Belen and Royal Family, also made out of chocolate, before crossing the road to a Turron (nuts and nougat) Factory and Museum. A short drive back to the Anis Factory in the town, (for which Rute is famous!) and had a short guided tour and talk of how the Anis is made, before moving onto the free alcoholic and non-alchololic samples, and the shop! Chris couldn’t resisit buying a couple of bottles of 55% Anis (as well as a bottle of Creme Brulee for me!!) in case we go to El Rocio again and bump into our Spanish friends, as the Anis from Rute is their favourite tipple! Decided not to go for the Menu del Dia with the main coachload, but have a tapas in the town and had an enjoyable hour or so eating tapas with Sue and Bob, before a quick look at the Sausage Museum that housed this enormous sausage weighing 250 Kgs ( ¼ ton )!

Anyway, three weeks pass very quickly and after a last day of the usual cleaning, washing and packing it was time to go back to the cold weather in the UK! Oh I shall so miss all this warmth and sunshine!!

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